The long awaited hunting ban social dialogue report by the Cabinet Sub Committee on the hunting ban instigated by President Mokgweetsi Masisi late last year has been finally submitted to the president.
When Masisi assembled together a team of cabinet members to have dialogue with the affected parties, those opposed to it were optimistic that government will lift the hunting ban which was imposed in 2014.
The hunting ban was initiated by the Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources Conservation and Tourism, pursuant to Statutory Instrument No.2 of 2014, effectively stopping hunting of all wildlife in all areas of Botswana effective January 2014.
The Chairperson of the Sub Committee on the hunting ban social dialogue Frans Van Der Westhuizen - Minister of Local Government and Rural Development - when handing the report to Masisi on Thursday, said the hunting ban has become a subject for discussion in the country because of its effect.
"Proponents of the hunting ban postulate that it is a good and noble conservation which will create a conducive environment for increased wildlife population and those against the hunting ban are of the view that hunting is a good wildlife management tool if properly implemented," he said.
Frans Van Der Westhuizen said from the submissions made by the communities and other stakeholders, the committee found it necessary to propose some of the recommendations which top of them being that the hunting ban be lifted.
Other recommendations were that there is a need to develop a legal framework that will create an enabling environment for growth of Safari hunting industry. Moreover, the report proposes that Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) should undertake an effective community outreach programme within the elephant range for Human Elephant Conflict mitigation.
President Masisi said he is delighted that the sub committee has delivered on the task which has been a concerning issue and promised that a decision will be taken with the cabinet being consulted on the report as well as reaching the parliament for more debate with regards to coming up with a good decision as derived from the list of recommendations on the report.
On Friday Members of Parliament touched on the hunting ban discussion with MP for Nkange, Edwin Batshu, asking the Minister of Environment Kitso Mokaila, on the measures in place to ensure that elephants do not drive out communities in the Nkange constituency from their ploughing fields.
Minister Mokaila said the ministry has deployed officers in some forward operating basis in the country to control problem animals including elephants. He also said the ministry has also developed the National Elephant Action Plan, which is a comprehensive document which will guide on how best to deal with the expanding population.
MP for Letlhakeng-Lephephe Likat Kablay, who is also the BDP chief whip in parliament, did not mince his words when talking about the soaring human-wildlife conflict most particularly in the northern parts of the country.
He warned that should a decision not be taken to address the issue many people will suffer heavy blows over the danger or threat caused by the elephants, warning his fellow MPs that the northerners maintain that the elephants will vote the BDP as they are preferred more than human life.